Thomas Alva Edison is most famed for his invention of the light bulb 125 years ago but that is not the only attribute to his name. This quintessential inventor was also a brilliant entrepreneur.
Edison was born in the town of Milan, Ohio on 11th February 1847. From the early age of 12, he was selling newspapers near the Grand Trunk Railway. As some might think that this is nothing extraordinary but as he turned 15, he realized that he was not satisfied with just that so he started publishing his own newspaper, the ‘Grand Trunk Herald’. This was done in a freight car that was also a place for Edison’s experimental works. He saved the life of the rail corporation employee’s son and in return as a reward he was taught telegraphy. This was the year 1862. He also worked at the Western Union. This led him to invent telegraph enhancements like the automatic transmission that omitted the use of an operator. He also created other products including the vote recorder and stock ticker. For this he earned up to forty thousand dollars. Using this amount, Edison opened up a research laboratory in New Jersey.
Although this inventive genius has 1093 patents to his name, which is the highest amounts of patents given to anyone by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office, Edison also established more than hundred businesses and partnerships. The most surprising thing for most people will be that some of these still exist today. Edison did not just invent the light bulb; in fact he is the rightful inventor of entire industries. The electric, motion picture, music and the battery industry is all credited to his name. He was simply flawless as compared to his competitors in the management of his businesses. He did not have any wish to be called a business tycoon. He preferred the privacy of his laboratory where he developed innovative products that were highly successful.
Most of Edison’s life was spent in the telegraph industry which proved to be a huge contribution to his commercial accomplishment in other industries. He gained a lot of entrepreneurial experience while working here that his rivals of the time tried to hack. When he invented the vote recorder, it was not very well-received and when he tried to sell it to the federal government they did not show any interest. This strategy proved that his goal was not merely invention but rather innovation. When he worked on his new products, he would think of ways that could lower his costs of manufacture and operation. He carried out research to improve the new technology so it could be well adapted to the needs of people. He paid special attention to market driven issues and this made it possible for him to create very successful companies in the cement, storage battery, picture, and phonograph industries. He did however lose a lot of money in the production of a low-grade iron ore in which he had invested his own money. He was the pioneer of using profits that he gained from his inventions into other creations. Edison died in 1947. He is honored with numerous awards and commemorations.